We are in Torridon. I love it here. The mountains in this area dominate the landscape. They are made up of layers and layers of sandstone, they are ancient, huge, fierce and some almost look unachievable to climb as they rise up out of the surrounding moorland.
We were going to undertake Beinn Eighe, one of Torridin’s giants.
Beinn Eighe is a complex mountain massif which lies to the south of Loch Maree. Its huge and it forms a long ridge with many spurs and summits. It actually boasts 7 peaks, two of which are classified as Munros.
When viewed from the Glen Torridon, Beinn Eighe’s south facing slopes appear as a uniformed wall of scree, however the northern side of this mountain has corries pushing out on a grand scale. The most dramatic feature is Coire Mhic Fhearchair, with the famed Triple Buttress.
So we were up and away early as this mountain could take us around 9 hours to complete.
We walked for a good 30 minutes along a road from our van which would take us to the starting point of our hike. We preferred to do this walk at the start of the hike which meant leaving the van back along the road where we would at least come off the hill in the evening and finish our hike there and then rather than have to then walk another 30 minutes along the road to pick up the van.
The track up to start with zig zagged up the mountain for quite some time at a pleasant gradient towards Coire an Laoigh. Don’t let this fool you though.
Once the coire is entered we were on to a grassy steep climb up with some fine gravel and believe you me this was one very steep up.
Finally we were on to a grassy bealach between Spidean Coire nan Clach and the Stuc Coire an Laoigh. At this point there was a large cairn and a stunning view ahead of Liathach which we had climbed a few years back. It felt great to have reached this point as it was a hard and long hike up. Snow began to fall and temperatures were sitting at around -5, probably colder, it was freezing.
After putting on extra layers we headed upwards once more on some quartzite scree which would take us to the trig point which was not the summit but could quite easily have been mistaken for it.
The summit sat another 200m up on a slight detour reached via a narrow ridge. We bypassed a rocky outcrop before reaching a short scrambly climb up a quartzite staircase which was slightly slippery.
From here views were amazing, we could see the entire Being Eighe range covered in peaks and airy ridges. Moments like these take my breath away.
After standing here taking in the view for quite sometime we moved on as it was so cold.
We headed back towards the trig point and from there headed across the mountain via a bouldery, rocky path before reaching the bealach.
Once on the ridge which made a fine traverse with magnificant views we continued onwards before climbing up to Choinneach Mor.
We passed by the opening of where we would descend down the mountain after we had sumitted our second Munro of the day and let me tell you it looked rather sketchy. All I could see was a very steep, very dangerous straight down loose sand stone/scree descent through a very narrow gap. This would be our descent into Coire Mhic Fhearchair.
I tried not to think about the descent at this stage (but I did of course) as I carried on upwards along more rock where we could see the scree coned summit of Ruadh-stac Mor.
We finally reached the summit and once again views were glorious.
This is the highest of Beinn Eighe’s summits and its detached position makes it a fabulous viewpoint for most of the range. Although I didn’t want to leave this summit for various reasons we knew we had to get a move on as it was still a long way out so we returned to the bealach and back to that dreaded narrow gap.
There is only one way down to the floor of Coire Mhic Fhearchair for non-climbers, and that is down this very steep and narrow scree gully.
The famous Coire Mhic Fhearchair is reached during this descent; this is the most spectacular of all Torridon’s corries, so although that was something to look forward to we still needed to get down to the bottom safely in order to see it.
We were on the scree run heading downwards concentrating the whole way as you wouldn’t want to loose your footing here. And if I’m being totally honest it wasn’t as bad as I had read or initially thought it was going to be if your being careful.
Once off the dangerous stuff it was time to look up and take in the huge view and the most dramatic feature of Coire Mhic Fhearchair – a spectaular amphitheatre with the famed Triple Buttress…my goodness what a sight.
We continued on a path which took us past various stunning waterfalls then around a very tranquil lochan. Once at the end of this lochan we stopped and looked back and got the most magnificent view of the Triple Buttress.
We continued outwards and downwards and reached a decent stalkers path which descends around the lower slopes of Sàil Mhòr continuing to look backwards all the way at such amazing views.
The path was slightly rocky but very well constructed, which was just aswell as it took us around 2 hours to walk out from the base of our last munro back to the van.
The whole way down the hills echoed to the sound of the rut as the deer stags battled for dominance and the chance to mate with the hinds…but my god they sounded more like they were in agony. We continued to try look for them but no matter how hard we tried we could not see any.
On reaching the car park we were hit with the funniest thing…as the humans were galivanting on the hills this big beauty (see below) was relaxing by our van and proceeded to stay with us for the whole night (and I know this because he was so noisy) and then the whole of the next day before we had to eventually leave him.
But we will be back real soon!
Check out the video below 💙🏴